One of the great finds over the past few years has been the brilliant Malawian comedian Daliso Chaponda. Although he’s been working away and building up his career over many years, he first came to my attention headlining a Screaming Blue Murder night a couple of years ago where he absolutely ripped the place apart. Then last year he brought his first ever touring show, What the African Said, back to the Royal and Derngate. Since then, he was a wow on Britain’s Got Talent, and now he’s touring with the show he took to Edinburgh this year, Blah Blah Blacklist.
From the moment he walks on stage, you take Mr Chaponda to your heart. He’s so immensely likeable, in a cheeky, naughty way, with a wealth of slanted observations that you immediately recognise. He’s so approachable, in fact, that audience members feel totally at ease asking him questions or commenting (positively) on his material during the show, sharing their own experiences back at him; and it never throws him. Actually, he instead weaves the audience’s observations into his own patter, to the extent that he even does call backs on the audience’s contribution! There’s obviously a very quick brain at work here.
Blah Blah Blacklist is a game of two halves; in the first, he reflects on all those heroes of our shared past who no longer cut the heroic mustard, from Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris down. In the second, he creates some terrific stories relating to the political experiences of his own father, George Chaponda, who was Minister for Agriculture in the Malawian government. But there’s a whole heap of other comical asides and funny garden paths up which Mr C leads us. I particularly liked his account of the difficulties he faces with the current girlfriend and her wayward son. It all feels effortless; I’m sure it isn’t.
Mr Chaponda is one of those incredibly bright sparks who shines happiness whenever you see him. He doesn’t shy away from a challenge; nor does he ever make you feel uncomfortable. In fact, one of the most appealing aspects to his work is a feeling of respect for his audience. The show is very much a shared experience – and one I can definitely recommend sharing! His tour continues through till March next year and you can get tickets at his website. Spoil yourself!